The Gauntlet

Election Supplement Introduction

Publication YearIssue Date 

By the time you read this, I may well be in hiding. Every year in mid-March, a bounty is placed on the head of the members of the Gauntlet's annual Students' Union General Election Endorsement Committee. So it goes when you print whom you think should be selected as the higher-level SU representatives for the following year.

There is much lambasting and criticism from year to year by candidates who are not endorsed that the Gauntlet "rigs" the elections. Apparently, we have power over the entire student population through cunning manipulation of the printed word. We speak and the campus follows blindly. Ahhh, if only. The things we could do…

In all honesty though, as a student newspaper offering weekly information and opinion, it is our duty to give information and opinion on the people who want to run your show next year. If we were to clam up every SU election, one of the most significant student-related events, we would be doing a disservice to our readers. Simply put, we've covered the SU all year, we've covered the issues for the past few years and we are as qualified as anyone to let you know where we stand.

However, that's not to say that there haven't been any changes this time around.

Legitimate concerns raised about previous endorsement supplements needed addressing. The most central of these was the issue of transparency and accountability. If we can spend our year watching Students' Legislative Council like hawks, if we can call every member on any slip-up or questionable decision they make, if we can know how they voted on every issue then it should be a two-way street.

Critics be silenced-there is a whole new level of transparency in this edition of the dastardly endorsements. On top of our summation of each candidate's position, and our collective opinion and endorsement. We have included our own personal ballots with brief comments about each race. There is now a name, a face and a breakdown of who on the committee supported who on the ballot.

But enough chit chat, let's get down to the nitty gritty. Every candidate who nervously crept into our heated den of intimidation did so on a level playing field. They each had five minutes to sell themselves and their platform to the committee. Then, each suffered through 10 minutes of primarily knowledge-based questions. Needless to say, there were some impressive interviews and there were some painful ones.

That said, 15 minutes is a long time-just ask any of the squirming interviewees-and it offers a great opportunity to see whether a candidate knows what they're getting into. Prolonged silences following straightforward knowledge questions are detrimental; concise and exact answers following the same questions are beneficial; elaborate and insightful answers, while few and far between, are endorsement clinchers.

Generally the opening five minutes gave a good idea about the candidate's ability, preparation and overall confidence, and the question period reinforced this. However, even journalists can make mistakes, so take our counsel for what it is: the opinions of six well-informed, yet totally fallible, people.

Arm yourselves with as much information as possible, do not rely solely on our assessments. Candidates highlight different issues and take different positions and our assesments of these positions may differ from yours, so use every resource available to you and make an informed decision.

If this year's apathy and indifference is any indication, the decision might not even be yours to make next year.

-- Lawrence Bailey, SU Endorsement Supplement Editor